At least 90 local government officials were ordered to air their side over a complaint lodged against them for violating the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the Office of the Ombudsman said Friday, March 11.
Some 30 investigators from the Environmental Ombudsman Team have been deployed to serve the orders on the mayors, vice-mayors and Sangguniang Bayan members of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pamapanga, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Albay, Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Northern Samar, Leyte and Palawan, the Ombudsman said.
The local officials were given 30 days to submit their explanation and Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan (SCRP), which should include the proposal to immediately close the open dump site.
Also, the Environmental Ombudsman ordered the local officials to detail the specific tasks, activities and legislative action to be completed within six months of SCRP implementation.
Headed by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera, the Environmental Ombudsman Team handled complaints filed against any public official or employee mandated to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.
Last February 10, the Environmental Ombudsman received 50 complaints filed by the Ecowaste Coalition against officials who allegedly violated Republic Act 9003 and its implementing rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, Ombudsman Conchita Morales welcomed as a “good development” the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA’s) Estero Blitz program, which sought to declog Metro Manila’s waterways.